Today's guest blog post is by Ellen Singleton, Middle School Women's Director at Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, TN. FBC is part of our 2012 Sticky Faith Cohort.
A couple of weeks ago I retuned from leading a mission trip of 20 teenagers to one of my favorite places in the whole world, the country of Haiti! This country has occupied a special place in my heart and each time I return, I come to love it more and more.
Among the many stories I could write about his trip, the story that keeps coming to mind is about two high school girls and their parents who went on this trip.
This story actually begins last summer when both of these girls traveled to Haiti for the first time. While they were there the Lord ignited their hearts for the people of Haiti, especially for many of the orphans we worked with.
After we returned to Nashville, their words, photos and Facebook pages told the story of God’s work and prompting in their own lives to care for the orphans of Haiti. Almost every time I saw them this past year, they would talk about Haiti, how much they missed it, how excited they were to go back next summer, and what they were doing to raise money and awareness for the country and its people.
This summer we transitioned the trip from an all-student trip into an intergenerational trip involving students and their parents. Both of these students convinced their parents to come back to Haiti with them this summer…and what a trip they had!
It was a wonderful picture watching these two parent/student duos experience the country of Haiti together. In a unique role-reversal, the students actually led the parents most of the trip! And as a result of God using these teenagers in unexpected ways, the parents’ hearts slowly became more and more open to all that God was doing in Haiti.
Some of my favorite moments from the trip were facilitating conversations at night between the parents and their kids. I knew this dialogue about the experiences they shared was shaping these students’ faith in a way that coming on a mission trip by themselves never could. I loved getting to provide the spaces and opportunities for parents to be the spiritual heroes in their teenager’s lives. The parents were the ones getting to wrestle through all of the hard questions with their own kids and lead discussions concerning what their response would be to what they had experienced.
…And the story doesn’t stop there! We have been back from Haiti only 3 weeks and both families are now pursuing the adoption process through the orphanage we worked with in Haiti.
As we say around our Student Ministry office quite a bit… “Never underestimate the power of a teenager!” And perhaps we should add, never underestimate the power of God when we bring teenagers and parents together in significant ways.